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Mini Health Expo at Tachikawa Church
August 13, 2019

 Although the crisp air frosted our breath on the spring morning of March 26, 2019, we were glad to be outside of the Tachikawa Church to meet the people on the street. Tachikawa is one hour away from Tokyo, Japan, by train. It is a densely populated area, and many people walk along the street beside the church.

The church members wanted to reach their community, but the question was how. Hence, the Health Ministries department of Japan Union Conference and the Tachikawa Church decided to hold a small Health Expo for their community from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that Tuesday.

Church members went out onto the street to invite passersby to the expo. Booths were set up in front of the church entrance, and the first thing that caught people’s attention was the free balloon art for children. Arterial age checks, as well as stress checks, were offered at another booth. In the lobby were several other booths providing services, including chair massages, health literature, and foot baths. Vegetarian food samples were also ready to be served. Every hour, for 15 minutes, there was a fall prevention seminar held by Dr. Katy Yamamuro, physical therapist. Participants received a sticker from each booth. They won a free health book if they collected three or more stickers.

Because this was the first time the Tachikawa Church held a health expo, we were not sure if people would actually participate. However, 20 to 30 people visited our church during health expo hours. A 90-year-old gentleman came and participated in almost all the booths. He enjoyed his visit very much. He told us that he had visited a Christian church once when he was young, but he had not been in a church since then. One of the event staff, an organist for the church, took him to the sanctuary and played the pipe organ for him. The man expressed so much joy after hearing the music and went home happy.

From this experience, we saw a glimpse of what evangelism should be like: a church connecting with its community. This kind of friendship evangelism can be a great preparation tool for future evangelistic meetings. We pray that more of our churches can find ways to reach out and connect with the people in the communities around them.

News Article by Atsushi Yamamuro, JUC Assistant Health Ministries Director